Before any of you ask, this was not a student creation from my University days gone by!
Kedgeree is at its most basic, a dish consisting of boiled rice, flaked fish, curry powder and hard boiled eggs. It is thought to have originated from an Indian rice and bean/lentil dish called Khichri, and widely believed that the dish was introduced to the Uk by returning British soldiers who enjoyed it in India whilst serving there during the British Raj.
During Victorian times it was served as a breakfast dish, as part of the very fashionable colonial Anglo-Indian cuisine that was sweeping Victorian Britain.
It is one of many breakfast dishes that, in the days before refrigeration
“converted yesterday’s leftovers into warm, hearty and appealing breakfast dishes.”
Kedgeree can take on many guises; some people fry onions until crisp to scatter over top before serving, others add sultanas into the mix, some use a variety of fish (e.g. smoked haddock). Celebrity chefs have turned the recipe from a simple putting together of ingredients into a much more decadent dish by using every ingredient in your spice rack or by using ingredients that you need to spend your lunch break searching for!
My advice: keep it simple
1st: Boil eggs until they are hard boiled. Set aside and allow to cool.
2nd: Place a salmon fillet per person into a saucepan. Cover with water and add peppercorns, salt and bay leaves. If you’re feeling adventurous add a few crushed cardamom pods. Simmer gently for 10mins. Allow to cool in the liquid.
3rd: Chop a medium sized onion and fry in some butter.
4th: Once the onion is soft, add a couple of teaspoons of curry powder to the saucepan and stir.
5th: Add the rice (I use basmati) and coat the grains with the buttery, curried onions.
6th: Use the poaching liquid and top up with any extra water to cook your rice using the 2:1 method. For depth of flavour I always use a stock cube – if you leave this out check for seasoning later.
7th: Once everything is cooked* it is just a case of assembling the dish:
a) remove the skin off the salmon and flake into pieces (take care with any bones)
b) sprinkle with fresh parsely
c) mix everything with the back of 2 wooden spoons and serve
d) squeeze a lemon over the rice
e) peel the eggs and chop into quarters but serve these equally to avoid argument!
*I like mine to have peas, so once the rice is cooked and whilst assembling the dish, I add frozen peas to the saucepan to cook them quickly in the residual heat.
Even though its intention was to be a breakfast dish, and it is relatively simple to make, it is just not practical for me to want to cook this for breakfast – not even at the weekend! But it does make for a great light supper or a fantastic weekend brunch; especially a late-Saturday-morning-hangover-looming-brunch! However, let’s simplify this even more: dispense with stages 1 & 2, don’t bother with the hard boiled eggs and poached, flaked salmon and just open a can of tuna into the boiled, curried rice.